After an agonizingly dry start to the winter ski season, Mother Nature finally contributed in a big way, dumping new snow by the feet at Lake Tahoe resorts while causing headaches for mountain travelers.
"It's a good old fashioned blizzard!" Mount Rose-Ski Tahoe resort exclaimed on its Web site Monday.
Spokesman Murray Blaney said the resort southwest of Reno has received 2 to 3 feet since the snow began falling over the weekend.
"It's pretty much been continuous from Saturday night," he said.
Heavy snow was expected to continue through Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service.
The stormy forecast is a welcome change from last month that turned out to be one of the driest Januarys on record followed by warm temperatures in early February that were more conducive for playing golf than hitting the slopes.
Many resorts so far have had to rely on snowmaking machines to keep their slopes open.
That all changed in the past week.
"In a mere week's time, Alpine Meadows Ski Resort has been transformed from a sunny ski-and-ride destination into a mountain blanketed in several feet of new snow," spokeswoman Rachael Woods said.
A winter storm warning remained in effect for the Lake Tahoe region through Tuesday morning.
The weather service anticipated the heaviest snowfall overnight, when up to 2 more feet of snow above 7,000 feet was projected.
Forecasters also issued a winter storm warning for the valleys of western Nevada, including the Reno-Carson City area, beginning Monday afternoon through early Tuesday.
The weather service said 3 to 6 inches in the valleys was possible overnight, with up to 10 inches in foothill areas.
Driving remained tough going on all Sierra passes, including Interstate 80 over Donner Summit, U.S. 50 over Echo Summit and Highway 88 over Carson Pass.
The California Highway Patrol in Truckee, Calif., said traffic early Monday was moving slowly, but steadily.
"It's a slow go," said one dispatcher who didn't want to be identified. "We've had some spinouts, but nothing major going on."